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Sunday, July 23, 2017

New Space Accommdates Larger-Then-Life Designs for South Mountain Company

Detail Design & Fabrication’s (DD&F) recent move from Tempe to the South Mountain District means more space to build their larger-than-life design concepts. The full-service design and fabrication firm specializes in the three-dimensional world of environmental graphic design, creating innovative signage and themed environments for Valley institutions.

“We’re very excited about finding this location,” said DD&F owner and Phoenix native Shad Bruce, “and specifically about finding this building.”

The new space, located at 33rd Street and Broadway, is triple the size of the company’s previous office. It now features a 3,000 square-foot studio and 6,000 square-foot fabrication facility.

While the new studio will give clients an opportunity to experience DD&F’s workmanship first-hand, the fabrication facility is fully-equipped with tools of the trade: large-format printers, computers with specialty software and three-dimensional design programs, welders, and state-of-the-art machinery for cutting wood, plastic and steel.

As the official graphic partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and creative think-tank for such clients as Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and the recently opened Phoenix Children’s Museum, DD&F needs the new space to make and assemble their creations of often massive proportions.

Like the Miller beer bottle they installed last spring at Chase Field, which is made of tubular steel, decked out with blue LED lights and stands 35-feet tall. The unique marketing concept, designed to help secure the Miller Brewing Company as a Diamond Club sponsor, is representative of the types of engaging, three-dimensional projects that DD&F has created over the last 10 years.

In 1998, when Bruce saw the need for a company that could fabricate its own designs, he created DD&F. With an industrial design degree from Arizona State University’s School of Architecture, and exposure to the kinds of projects that paired engineering with architecture and design, he created a company to meet the needs of a niche market.

Since then, DD&F has landed jobs like the re-branding of Chase Field, creating the interactive, transportation-themed exhibit at the Phoenix Children’s Museum and fabricating environmental elements like a custom entrance at the Mohammad Ali Parkinson Center.

For clients like Arizona Diamondbacks, Qwest, Westcor, Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and Pulte Homes, DD&F serves as a one-stop-shop. Instead of coordinating information and concepts with a graphic design firm, general contractor and architect, DD&F clients can work with one company who can do each step from concept to installation.

Now, with the new office space, DD&F can design, build and assemble their client’s projects in one location.

“We’re a turnkey operation,” Bruce said. “We handle the initial concepts, finalized designs, three-dimensional [renderings], construction documents drawn to scale and then the fabrication and installation of the final product.”

When a client has a new project, they may want DD&F to devise a creative, new look for their location, design a welcoming reception center or build a brand into an exciting experience. Before they begin, the design team assesses the audience, their needs and the idyllic environment. They study the existing setting, including architectural elements, interior design components and the space itself.

“The first thing we look at,” said Bruce, “is who needs to get the most out of it. [For instance,] with the Phoenix Children’s Museum exhibit, we knew that it would be for children and that it needed to be smaller in scale, over the top, interactive and fun. We also had to retro-fit our original design to fit into a hallway and work within the museum’s budget.”

According to Bruce, DD&F’s design philosophy is to work with each element until they’ve created a cohesive package – a one-of-a-kind experience.

As a design and fabrication firm, DD&F is more than just a group of industrial designers. They’re a team of creators, inventors and problem solvers. Drawing from their experiences in wood and metal-working, construction, general contracting, architecture and mechanical engineering, they pair the common with the uncommon and think entirely outside of the box.

The results are creative compositions like a funky xylophone made of re-purposed antique wrenches; or a miniature version of Chase Field, complete with padded outfield walls, a mini “jumbo-tron” and a set of opening and closing doors so kids can hit the wiffle ball “out of the park”; or an exciting, interactive exhibit for kids where there was once an empty hallway.

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